Women & Hi Tech exists to change the landscape of women represented in STEM to be equally inclusive to all.


  • 11/24/2021 4:32 PM | Anonymous

    Personal branding is a topic many of our members have expressed interest in learning more about. We were so excited to host a discussion about best practices on November 17th! Women & Hi Tech President Linda Hicks and Past President Rebecca Bormann led the conversation. Here are some of the main ideas and tips we took away from the discussion.

    • Personal branding encompasses not just what people say about you, but also what they think about you and expect from your presence. Therefore, social media is an important element of personal branding, but only when the persona you present is backed up and confirmed by your behaviors.

    •  Your personal brand also lets people know what you stand for, your values, and your boundaries. Sharing articles and observations, as well as anecdotes and moments of vulnerability, helps reinforce your truth by showing others, not telling them.

    • Authenticity is essential to personal branding. Many attendees agreed that it is off-putting when someone presents one way on social media or at work, then behaves totally differently in other areas of their life. In fact, this inspires some professionals to stay off social media altogether, to avoid misalignment between their personal brand and professional brand.

    To better-define your personal brand, start with two or three words that describe how you want to be perceived. Then, ask others in your life for “360 feedback.” This is a list of questions sent to a wide variety of the people you interact with, including friends, peers, supervisors, vendors, and more. 

    Collecting anonymous responses lets you learn how you are perceived across the broad spectrum of your life. Do you come across in the way you aspire? What experiences does your network have with you that confirms or contradicts your desired personal brand?

    Another proven step to build your brand is consistency. Find your cadence and desired tone and be consistent in how and where you share those messages.

    If developing and deepening your personal brand and executive presence are some of your goals in 2022, we would love for you to join us for a new Women & Hi Tech Professional Development Series on Executive Presence and Personal Branding launching in January! Through pre-recorded training and small group exercises, we can’t wait to help our members grow their personal presence, capacity to achieve buy-in, and negotiation skills. Learn more and register to join us for one, two, or all three sessions!

  • 11/24/2021 3:18 PM | Anonymous

    This year, we took our proprietary OperationAll programming virtual with an amazing panel on November 18th. 

    Linda Hicks, President of Women & Hi Tech, and board member Tiffany White kicked off the event in agreement that more involvement from male allies earlier in their careers would have helped them feel more welcomed and empowered in their roles as engineers.

    Then, we got to hear tips, insights, and anecdotes about male allyship from our panel of experts. Here are a few of the gems we heard from each participant:

    Doug Theis, Director of National Strategy at Expedient 

    “If leadership is not modeling and communicating about appropriate culture, then it’s hard for others to follow. That’s where men need female allies to give them honest feedback and even call them out when behavior is acting as a barrier, rather than a bridge.” 

    Chris Fultz, Program Executive, B-52 / F130 at Rolls-Royce 

    “Not recognizing the value of a woman’s input because there is a man you trust more can be a very harmful behavior. This even extends to job postings. Be aware of how you are listing what is required for a role versus what is desired.” 

    Calvin Hendryx-Parker, Chief Technology Officer and Co-founder of Six Feet Up

    “You can’t deal with a situation if you don’t start with your own behaviors and reactions. Men may tend to cut people off because we have a great idea and want to express it, but it’s been important for me to learn to pause and give room for everyone’s voice to be heard.”  

    Wayne Patrick, Chief Revenue Officer at AIS 

    “Make the issue personal. Give it the ‘what if’ test. What would you want done if a woman in your life was going through the experiences of your colleagues? When the issue becomes real to you in this way, you will be a better listener and a better advocate.”

    Ben Phillips, Director in the Audit and Assurance Services, Katz, Sapper, & Miller and Treasurer of Women & Hi Tech. 

    “Allow yourself time to practice allyship. Give yourself the kindness to take baby steps and work toward building connections and self-awareness. Don’t assume you know what opportunities people want, what they want to learn, or that you can speak for them.”

    Listen to the full panel recording to learn how each panelist defines allyship, the strategies for equity and inclusion that have worked at their organizations, and what to do in tense situations. Thank you again to all these experts for sharing their stories and perspectives! We are so grateful to have these allies in our mission to change the landscape for women in STEM and make these industries equally inclusive to all. 

  • 11/01/2021 9:04 AM | Anonymous

    We currently need two volunteers to lead committees to support the planning of our Leading Light Awards. Time commitments are estimated to be 10-20 hours per month, likely increasing as the event date approaches on Oct 6, 2022.

    Registration Chair and Committee: The Registration Committee Chair will be responsible for running registration for the 2022 Leading Light Awards. They will gather additional Registration Committee Members to help with managing guest check-in at LLA, seating chart maintenance and management, and maintaining monthly registration counts compared to goal, among other duties. They will also manage the on-site registration process (check-in, drink tickets, seat assignments) as well as the 24-48 hour notice of attendee name changes. They will create a form to collect information of attendees from each sponsor (name, dietary restrictions), and contact bundle admins to determine attendees from each sponsor, managing any changes, and other needs as applicable.

    Volunteer Chair and Committee: The Volunteer Committee Chair will be responsible for gathering, managing, and being the main point of contact for volunteers specifically for the 2022 LLAs. They will coordinate with committee chairs to determine on-site volunteer needs, as well as coordinate on-site volunteer assignments, prep, instruction, and escalations. They will also assist in the planning and execution of the event within the approved budget. Volunteers will help with many tasks including: greeting guests at arrival, escorting guests to their seats, acting as human arrows, running candy tables, assisting with registration, setup and teardown assistance, and other needs as applicable.

    If you are interested in one of these positions, please reach out to Lauryn Andrews at lla@womenandhitech.org and Amber Peckham at communications@womenandhitech.org by November 8.

  • 10/31/2021 3:49 PM | Anonymous

    By Glenn Keller

    On October 14th, 2021, we were honored to hear from speaker, coach, and author Caroline Dowd-Higgins at our  Executive Women’s Forum, the first in-person event we hosted in over a year. Ivy Tech sponsored the event at their Culinary and Conference Center, including the historic Courses Restaurant, operated by Ivy Tech culinary students.

    “The purpose of Network like a Ninja was to help women understand how they can network better and to instill the confidence required to network. And of course, to practice,” said Linda Calvin, Director of the Executive Women’s Forum. “The post-event networking session gave attendees the opportunity to use the skills Caroline shared in her presentation in a very common environment for networking, ‘the happy hour.’”

    Board President Linda Hicks, was on hand to kick things off and Ivy Tech President Dr. Sue Ellsperman made time in her busy schedule to also offer her welcome and support. Both women gave a personal example of the power of networking and how networking played a pivotal role in their career development.

    Caroline Dowd-Higgins covered the importance of networking not only as a career supercharger but as a necessity. She made it clear from the start that this was not going to be a lean-back-and-watch session. Her message was interactive, thought-provoking, and full of helpful, practical advice.

    The beautiful Courses restaurant was a perfect backdrop for drinks, hors d'oeuvre and conversation. We played a game of Networking Bingo, gathering information about the new friends we made. The first two attendees to complete their bingo cards won copies of Caroline’s book, "This Is Not The Career I Ordered." We even learned that "Elvis Slept Here" prior to performing his final concert at the old Market Square Arena. Who knew?

    Attendees had the chance to get their picture taken by the incredible Faith Blackwell, who also generously donated a PowerShots session to support Girls Inc of Greater Indianapolis in honor of International Day of the Girl. Our Girls Inc. friends were on location to accept donations in support of their programming. Congratulations to our networking package raffle winners, Sonal Sheth Zawahri and Lisa Petersen, and the winner of the PowerShots session, Rinn Neidig.

    Takeaways From the Event

    It is hard for some people to effectively network. Women especially can view it as "non-authentic" or awkward. Introverts in particular also find networking difficult, but the super-power that many introverts have is their ability to listen. Extroverts may not be as tentative to network, however, listening to understand and not just jumping in with comments is a struggle which may make their networking efforts less effective.

    Caroline covered some important "dos" for networking:

    • Listen first: encourage people to talk about themselves. Invite others into the conversation--which is also a good way to exit.
    • Think about what you want the person to remember about you when they walk away...short term memory will allow them to remember 1-3 things at the most.
    • Always close with an offer to help and then follow-up quickly with something of value to them such as an introduction, a link to an article, etc.

    Of course, there were some networking "don'ts" as well:

    • Don't start right off with a pitch or asking for a job. And never ask if you can pick their brain; people make a living with their expertise and shouldn't be asked to give it away.
    • Don't rush to fill in any quiet space. Others in the conversation may still be processing what was just said.
    • Remember that though you may be comfortable dominating a room or a conversation, that can be a turn-off to those you are speaking with. Honor others by adjusting your approach to match their energy while staying authentic.

    Quick LinkedIn Tips:

    • Stay away from "needy" LinkedIn headlines like "looking for an opportunity."
    • LinkedIn gives more exposure to people with over 500 connections.
    • Follow companies you are interested in working with on LinkedIn. Someone will notice.
    • Comment on content that interests you, especially from influencers.
    • An audience member shared that you can easily generate a QR code of your LinkedIn profile, which is helpful at networking events.

    In Closing

    Many thanks to Caroline Dowd-Higgins for helping us all break out of our shell on our own terms, to Linda Calvin for organizing this great learning opportunity, and to presenting sponsor Ivy Tech Community College for hosting us! As we move into 2022, Women & Hi Tech looks forward to continuing our tradition of providing our members with meaningful career development – wait until you see what we have planned!

  • 10/31/2021 2:57 PM | Anonymous

    Our bi-annual Fall Retreat at French Lick Resort in early October 2021 left attendees feeling refreshed, recharged, informed, and inspired. That's all thanks to a keynote presentation from author Angel Henry, as well as the power of the fellowship and friendship we shared--especially at our Western-themed dinner!

    Special shoutout to our President-Elect Dr. Maria Alvim-Gaston (below) and our Fall Retreat planning committee for all their work creating this special getaway for our members and guests.

    Women & Hi Tech President Linda Hicks shared the story of a chance meeting with a hotel guest in the casino. This gentleman celebrates his birthday annually at the resort.

    "He remembered our group from two years ago and had taken a picture with us dressed as flappers--and still had that photo in his phone! He and his wife wanted another photo with us in our Western gear." We had fun sharing with him about our organization and joked that we will see him in 2023!

    A highlight of the retreat was hearing from Angel Henry, who is so passionate for diversity in the field of IT and beyond. Her knowledge of why women and minorities are often missing from the room helps advance the conversation of inclusion and make real change.

    "Angel brings differing advice for audiences based on age, race, and professional level," recalled Rebecca Bormann, Women & Hi Tech Past President. "Her advice hit home and sparked a great discussion and many women authentically sharing their personal experiences being a woman in STEM."

    Women & Hi Tech was delighted to have a mix of new members, long-time members, college students and STEM professionals join us for the retreat. Thanks again to all who attended.

  • 08/25/2021 11:17 AM | Anonymous

    Join a board committee and help Women & Hi Tech advance our mission!

    Are you passionate about changing the landscape of women represented in STEM to be equally inclusive to all? Can you spare a few hours a month to advance that goal along with us? 

    The following committees are seeking members for a minimum one-year term:

    • Volunteer Recruitment Committee
    • Engagement, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee
    • Networking and Member Events Planning Committee
    • K-12 Outreach Committee
    • Communications Committee
    • Community Outreach Committee

    Whatever strengths and talents you bring to the table, joining a committee to support our all-volunteer Board of Directors will benefit your professional development by growing your marketable skillset, expanding your professional network, and gaining experience contributing to a well-established Indiana nonprofit.

    See below for information about each of these opportunities and next steps to apply for a role! We are so grateful for your interest and can't wait to hear from you. 

    Please note all candidates must be members in good standing and must remain in good standing throughout their time on the committee.

    Volunteer Recruitment Committee

    • Seeking 2 volunteers to assist with coordinating and managing volunteers for all our events
    • Time Commitment: up to 1 hour per week to respond to volunteer requests, post volunteer opportunities and attend Women & Hi Tech events as assigned to manage volunteers for the 2021-2022 fiscal year
    • Qualifications: Candidates are needed with a friendly, welcoming and patient demeanor
    • Contact: Sahara Williams, networking@womenandhitech.org

    Engagement, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee

    • Seeking 1 additional volunteer to assist with developing and implementing Women & Hi Tech’s DEI goals including strategy development, metrics tracking, and communicating DEI objectives to others
    • Time Commitment: 4-6 hours per month for the 2021-2022 fiscal year
    • Qualifications: Candidates should have the ability to positively influence others. Ideal candidates have background or experience in diversity, equity and inclusion. Candidates must have flexibility in their schedule to attend monthly virtual calls and occasional face to face strategy meetings.
    • Contact: Joy Neely, edi@womenandhitech.org 

    Networking and Member Events Planning Committee

    • Seeking up to 2 volunteers to assist with the planning and implementation of 4-5 of Women & Hi Tech signature networking and membership events 
    • Time Commitment: 4-6 hours per month generally plus day-of event assistance for the 2021-2022 fiscal year
    • Qualifications: Candidates should be creative, willing to share ideas, and be comfortable working in a team environment. Planning experience is a plus!
    • Contact: Sahara Williams, networking@womenandhitech.org

    K-12 Outreach Committee

    • Seeking up to 3 volunteers to help attract more girls to STEM careers by increasing STEM exposure, engagement, and mentorship opportunities.
    • Time Commitment: 2-3 hours per month for the 2021-2022 fiscal year, Committee meetings are the 1st Monday of each month from 4pm-5pm
    • Qualifications: Candidates should enjoy working with youth.  Ideal candidates would have a background in education.   
    • Contact: Crystal Morton, k12@womenandhitech.org

    Communications Committee

    • Seeking 1-2 additional volunteers to assist with social media scheduling, website updates, copywriting, and other projects when interested. 
    • Time Commitment: 2-3 hours a month, broken out into small tasks weekly.
    • Qualifications: Experience with Hootsuite is a plus but not required, it’s easy to learn. 
    • Contact: Amber Peckham, communications@womenandhitech.org

    Community Outreach Committee

    • Seeking up to 3 volunteers to help identify and support events that align with Women & Hi Tech’s mission that are outside the scope of the K-12 and Collegiate Outreach committees
    • Time Commitment: 4-6 hours monthly for the 2021-2022 fiscal year
    • Qualifications: Committee members will be requested to participate at events as volunteers, Women & Hi Tech representatives, and STEM industry professionals. This may include coordinating activities with host organization,  planning and facilitating events (set up and tear down), staffing the booth during in person or virtual events, networking and recruiting new members during events.
    • Contact: Rebecca Leon, outreach@womenandhitech.org
  • 07/27/2021 8:33 AM | Anonymous

    On June 24, 2021, Women & Hi Tech was excited to host our summer Executive Women’s Forum: Let’s Talk About Your Cyber Hygiene. This important discussion informed attendees about secure online behaviors and how critical cybersecurity is in today’s technology age. According to recent reports, cybercrime has increased every year as people try to benefit from vulnerable business and personal systems. Often, attackers are looking for ransom: 53% of cyber attacks resulted in damages of $500,000 or more.

    Linda Calvin, director of the Executive Women’s Forum and Ben Phillips, Treasurer, kicked off the event as moderators for the discussion. “This forum gave us the opportunity to provide our members and the community with best-in-class thought leadership on the evolving personal and enterprise cybersecurity risk landscapes,” said Phillips. “We are extremely grateful for the outstanding attendance and the content provided by our panelists.

    The panelists were Meredith Harper, VP and Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) at Eli Lilly, Chetrice Mosely-Romero, Cybersecurity Program Director at Indiana Office of Technology & Indiana Department of Homeland Security, and Nicole Sigler, Senior Security Consultant at Pondurance. These women shared their wise words on major recent cybersecurity events, the implications of poor security, and how we can improve our cybersecurity report card.

    Takeaways from the event 

    The forum covered cyber security from both corporate and personal angles. Panelists discussed topics for corporate security such as the recent attack on SolarWinds and how it affected federal and local governments, as well as how to integrate cybersecurity training effectively in a corporation. The conversation then shifted to tips on personal cyber security, such as changing your passwords every few months and segmenting routers in your home when bringing in technology such as Alexa or the Ring doorbell.

    “A lot of what we’re dealing with in cybersecurity is human behavior. A computer doesn't click on a malicious link--a human does. We need to make sure people are educated and aware of attacks so they can combat them at the point of attack,” said Harper. 

    Mosley-Romero commented, “We, the protectors, have to be creative and emulative to understand the different forms of communication and training. We also have to be creative about understanding the bad actors and how they are getting into complex systems. Cyber security is not all ones and zeros. It’s a critical thinking skill, a creative skill, and a psychological skill.”

    With everything there is a risk, but much like driving, we have to consider the rules of the road and protect ourselves. With good cyber hygiene, we can arm ourselves against the malware and bad actors that are attacking our corporate entities and personal homes. 

    “Something we always say, as consultants and auditors is, I believe you, I trust you, but I just need to verify. We need to use this methodology in our daily life and in our companies. We all need to double check things,” said Sigler. “It's just like any other organization where you have checks and balances. In cyber security, you need to double check your security measures so nothing happens to cause havoc.”

    Listen and learn about cyber hygiene

    Women & Hi Tech encourages all who missed the live virtual event to view the recorded session of our Executive Women's Forum: Let’s Talk About Your Cyber Hygiene and visit owomenandhitech.org/events to attend our next events!

  • 07/07/2021 8:42 AM | Anonymous

    Women & Hi Tech is pleased to announce the Board of Directors for the term that commenced on July 1, 2021.

    Elected Officers of the Women & Hi Tech Board of Directors:

    • President: Linda Hicks, Vice President of Midwest Operations for ECC Horizon

    • President-Elect: Maria Alvim-Gaston Ph. D., Advisor – MIH Talent Development Academy Medicines Innovation Hub, Eli Lilly and Company

    • Treasurer: Ben Phillips, Director, Katz, Sapper & Miller

    • Secretary: Allison Lipps, Partners Program & Project Coordinator, Indiana Hemophilia & Thrombosis Center, Inc.

    Elected Directors of the Women & Hi Tech Board of Directors:

    • Collegiate Outreach Director: Stephanie Jeffers, Director of Outreach and Student Career Support for the College of Technology at Indiana State University.

    • Communications Director: Amber Peckham, Senior Content Manager, Metonymy Media

    • Community Outreach Director: Rebecca Leon, Senior Research Scientist, Eli Lilly and Company.

    • Corporate Engagement Director: Hannah Stork, Client Executive with Rural Sourcing, Inc. (RSI).

    • Engagement, Diversity, and Inclusion Director: Joy Neely, Central Area, Regional Business Manager, Roche Diagnostic Information Solutions

    • Executive Women's Forum Director: Linda Calvin, Vice President, School of IT at Ivy Tech Community College

    • K-12 Outreach Director: Crystal Morton, Associate Professor of Mathematics Education, Indiana University School of Education – Indianapolis

    • Leading Light Awards Director: Lauryn Andrews, Consultant, netlogx

    • Membership Administrator:Carol Ganz, Vice President of Sales, Six Feet Up, Inc.

    • Networking Events Director: Sahara Williams, Intellectual Property Attorney, Barnes & Thornburg.

    • Past President: Rebecca Bormann, Managing Director of Sales and Services, Bell Techlogix, Inc.

    Elected Active Emeritus of the Women & Hi Tech Board of Directors:

    Elected Emeritus of the Women & Hi Tech Board of Directors:

    “Women & Hi Tech is pleased to welcome five new members of our board, and to celebrate a new board position,” said Linda Hicks, President of Women & Hi Tech. “I know we’ll continue our legacy of having a highly-inclusive environment with Joy Neeley leading our Engagement, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) strategies. I’m also excited about the fresh perspectives and ideas our new board members will bring to the table, including getting a pulse of female STEM professionals’ needs outside of central Indiana. We have two new board members joining us from the western and northern parts of the state.” 

    Hicks mentioned several upcoming October events she is excited to celebrate with the membership. “We’re having our biennial member retreat in October at French Lick. That’s going to be a great time for networking and professional development. We have also been selected to present our OperationAll™ programming at the Society of Women Engineers National Conference that will be held in downtown Indianapolis in late October. We have assembled a panel of accomplished and sincere male allies who will convey to attendees what it means for men to be an ally to their female staff, peers, colleagues and friends.”

    Hicks elaborated on the year ahead, “We have six core strategic objectives: drive our EDI initiatives, including improving diversity of membership; expand our programming across the state; develop a revenue generation plan that supports the growth we’re planning for; get to know our members better to drive better programming decision making; improve our communications and marketing; and grow partnership relationships.”

    Hicks is confident this team will achieve all those objectives. “We’re a high-achieving group of professionals who individually have a strong passion for driving inclusivity in STEM professions. Collectively, our re-elected and emeritus members already have fantastic teamwork, collaboration and respect for each other and our members.  We are confident the organization will only be elevated by the addition of our new peers. We will set goals and then put the plans in place to get it done. That’s what we do well together.”

  • 06/30/2021 5:41 PM | Anonymous

    Rebecca BormannDear Members, Sponsors, Volunteers, Supporters, and Friends,

    June has been an exciting month for Women & Hi Tech!  We hosted our inaugural Multicultural Celebration, which was also our first in-person event since the onset of the pandemic. We also virtually hosted our second quarter Women & Hi Tech's Executive Women's Forum: Let’s Talk About Your Cyber Hygiene. If you missed the Executive Women's Forum, be sure to watch the recording. And, we hosted our Q2 virtual Book Club discussion about the book Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi!

    We have also been celebrating throughout the month that June is Pride month. Women & Hi Tech affirms its commitment to an inclusive, equitable and welcoming environment for everyone. We stand with our LGBTQIA+ community in celebrating historic triumphs and advocating for continued equality for all.  Happy Pride month, everyone!

    I would also like to take a moment to acknowledge that Juneteenth, also known as Emancipation Day, is now a Federal holiday.  Juneteenth commemorates the day June 19, 1865, which is the effective end of slavery in America – this is such a significant day in our country’s history. May we all use this opportunity to learn about the importance of June 19th and celebrate the resilience and contributions of African Americans – past and present – to our country as we strive for continued equality for all.

    June also marks the end of the 2021-2022 board term and the welcoming in of the new 2021-2022 board, being led by Linda Hicks, Women & Hi Tech’s new President effective July 1, 2021.

    I would like to thank you all for this incredible opportunity to serve as the 2021-2022 President of such an impactful and empowering organization. For over 20 years Women & Hi Tech had been serving the Indiana STEM community and has blazed trails, used our voices, and taken action to make a difference and change the landscape of women represented in STEM to be equally inclusive to all.  I am honored and humbled to be a part of such an important, worthy, needed, and wanted change! Thank you! 

    The 2020 – 2021 board term was an extremely memorable year for Women & Hi Tech in so many ways.  And I am honored to share with you we saw record numbers in program variety and participation, sponsorship, mentorship, membership giving, scholarships and grants awarded and overall community engagement.

    • In July of 2020, the current Board of Directors was unanimously elected, which is the most diverse Board in Women & Hi Tech's history – by age, gender, ethnicity or race, STEM expertise, professional experience, and so much more.
    • We introduced new programs including Women & Hi Tech’s Virtual Quarterly Book Club, led by our current Secretary, Kelly Sandstrom.
    • We hosted our second round of W&HT’s ClickSide Chat series which was created at the onset of stay at home orders. This series serves as a mid-week touch-point for Women & Hi Tech members to connect, engage, and encourage each other via a moderated discussion format hosted by Women & Hi Tech Board Members.
    • We virtually visited colleges and universities around Indiana and spoke to hundreds of girls about working in tech and STEM careers.
    • Women & Hi Tech hosted our first-ever Virtual Leading Light Awards and Scholarship gala in October of 2020. We brought together over 500 registered attendees in our STEM community and awarded over $58,000 of scholarships and grants to 17 women and girls in Indiana who plan to remain in Indiana for their careers.

    Beyond this being our first virtual gala, the 2020 LLAs had a lot of other firsts.

    • Notably, we awarded the largest amount of scholarships and grants Women & Hi Tech has provided at one time in our history.
    • We also had the most diverse group of award and scholarship and grants recipients well as the most diverse panel of judges ever.
    • Also new, we honored our Indiana #STEM community with an #INthistogether video tribute for all of the amazing work our STEM community has been doing to overcome challenges created by the pandemic.  And we created the Women & Hi Tech  #INthistogether Scholarship.  This was our first ever member funded scholarship which raised over $3300 for our recipient LaJoi Shelton Robinson. 
    • We also introduced a second new scholarship. 2020 marked the inaugural awarding of the Rare Nickel Scholarship. This $5000 scholarship celebrates the first five women who received Spotlight Awards in 2000. Each year it is awarded, this scholarship will continue their legacy of paving the way for future generations of female STEM leaders in Indiana. The first recipient of this new Rare Nickel Scholarship was Marielle Berin, BS Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University.
    • Last but certainly not least, Women & Hi Tech also introduced and 2 new Leading Light Awards in 2020: the Women & Hi Tech Equity and Inclusion Champion Leading Light Award and the Women & Hi Tech OperationALL Male Allies Award.

    Our Inaugural Multicultural Celebration earlier this month was hosted at the beautiful Indiana State Museum Great Hall! It was an amazing evening filled with cultural education, art, music from the live band Chamber Music, festivity, cultural food, dancing and networking. 

    Women & Hi Tech Indianapolis Multicultural Celebration Photo CollageOver the past board term, we have also made progress on our 2-year strategy including:

    • New governance policies, including revising and ratifying our bylaws to include our DE&I statement, whichyou can check out on our website. We also created policies including partnership guidelines, code of conduct and conflict of interest.
    • We also went live with our Salesforce.com implementation – to help enable easy tracking, documenting and organized data.
    • We’ve increased the financial acumen, maturity, and security of our organization.
    • I am also honored and delighted to share that we have retired our Volunteer Director role in order to introduce our new role, DE&I Director which is an additional step Women & Hi Tech has taken to ensure the organization continues to focus on diversity, equity and inclusion for all women, in STEM and beyond.

    Advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion for all is at the core of Women & Hi Tech. And we are pleased with the positive change to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion that is evident not only within our organization but for so many more Indiana women and girls in STEM because of the impact of our 2020-2021 programming, events, scholarships, grants and awards. We also understand the work for true equity and inclusion for all women and girls in Indiana is far from done. Despite our society’s current challenges, Women & Hi Tech remains committed, strategic, and actionable to further our mission - to make STEM equally inclusive to all – and to serve our members, sponsors, partners, and friends in the Indiana STEM community.

    It’s really been an incredible Board term!  And none of this would be possible without our dedicated and passionate, Board of Directors, Sponsors and Members.

    I sincerely thank all of our corporate and collegiate sponsors for their continued support and engagement – we appreciate your generosity in helping us continue to advance our mission.

    To our members---- Thank you for believing in Women & Hi Tech’s mission and for supporting, encouraging, and cheering one another on!  Thank you for volunteering, mentoring, and being engaged and active members of Women & Hi Tech’s programs. Every day, you support professional women in STEM, collegiate women, and inspire the next generation of K -12 girls to pursue an interest in STEM. 

    To the 2020 -2021 Board of Directors and Emeritus members -----Thank you to each of you for your passion, dedication, and fervor to so generously share your time, talents and treasures serving on this Board.  I thank you for all your support, for your creativity, for your ideas, and for being courageous and taking a stand for something so much bigger than ourselves.  Each of you have left your fingerprints all over this organization and Women & Hi Tech is even better because of your contributions.  It has truly been my honor and pleasure to serve with you amazing humans.  I am humbled and proud to call each of you my friend and part of my crew – thank you so very much.  And thank you for making our world a better place, by changing the landscape of women represented in STEM to be equally inclusive to all!  Virtual round of applause!!!

    2021-2022 Board of Directors and Emeritus members----  I can’t wait to see what you are going to do and how you will continue to advance Women & Hi Tech and serve our members, sponsors, partners, friends and the Indiana STEM community! I look forward to continuing to serve alongside each of you in the Past President role.

    In our 29th edition of "Grown from STEM" we are excited to be featuring Women & Hi Tech’s Executive Women’s Forum (EWF) Director, Linda Calvin and our dedicated member, Tosin Ajayi. Both Calvin and Ajayi are highly accomplished in their respective tech disciplines and share how their unique journeys led to their success and passion for tech. Calvin and Ajayi are champions for diversity, equity, and inclusion for all, particularly for women in STEM, in their careers, volunteerism, and personal lives. Please read more about Calvin and Ajayi and how their backgrounds, STEM expertise, and passion for equity and inclusion for girls and female STEM professionals helps fuel their support and involvement in Women & Hi Tech.

    As we began in the October 2020 edition of "Grown from STEM," we are delighted to continue to feature one of our 2020 Virtual Leading Light Awards (LLAs) recipients in this newsletter. This month we continue to celebrate and recognize Women & Hi Tech's You Inspire US! Leading Light Award recipient Rupal Thanawala. Rupal’s professional excellence stems from the value and enhancements that she cultivates within the companies and organizations that she serves. Building world-class innovative solutions for customers, positioning digital transformation as a value creator, fostering diverse & inclusive team culture and building a pipeline of future workforce for the tech industry is just a day in the life of Rupal.

    Please watch this segment of the 2020 Virtual LLAs to learn more about what fuels Rupal's passion and drive for equality for all in the STEM fields and beyond. Again, Congratulations Rupal!


    Rebecca Bormann
    Women & Hi Tech President

  • 06/30/2021 5:36 PM | Anonymous

    Network engineer and security analyst Tosin Ajayi became aware of Women & Hi Tech through the IvyWorks program at Ivy Tech Community College. That is where Ajayi worked to earn her Associates Degree of Applied Science in Cyber Security and Information Assurance, as well as a certificate in Digital Forensics, both of which she completed in 2020. “It was always my goal to earn my degrees without taking on any debt, so I was paying out of pocket for my courses. But when the COVID pandemic hit, I ended up losing my job,” she explained. With her sights set on continuing to pursue her Bachelor’s in Cyber Security and Information Assurance at Western Governors University (WGU), she wasn’t sure what would come next, but she didn’t want to compromise on her goal. “I have always believed you should never let even the most unexpected circumstances derail you. You may be blindsided by an event, but once you can look around, there is always another way to achieve your goals.”

    For Ajayi, that next step came in the form of a Women & Hi Tech newsletter calling for Leading Light Awards scholarship applicants. Tosin won the 2020 $10,000 WGU scholarship and was able to seamlessly progress into the pursuit of her bachelor’s degree, which she is on track to achieve in 2022. “Once Women & Hi Tech made that investment in me, I was even more inspired to continue investing my time with them,” she explained. Ajayi is a volunteer on the Women & HI Tech communications committee, assisting with social media management and website management.

    In addition to this growth, Tosin is also grateful to have achieved a new position at SMC, where she works in monitoring security events and response. “We use cutting-edge tools to monitor global security events and known vulnerabilities. We also communicate with diverse teams and departments to make risks known and explain the necessary actions that need to be taken. And we enhance processes and procedures in response to what we learn.”

    Ajayi is passionate about cybersecurity for many reasons. One is the fact that “bad actors are not sleeping. They are always looking for new ways to steal and infiltrate, and that action impacts people. Both companies and individuals need to be continually learning to protect ourselves and those who trust us from threat actors.” She is also inspired by the changes she has seen in the industry since she began pursuing her Associates degree in 2016. “Back then I was worried it would be a challenge just to get an entry-level position. Now, companies are seeing there are capable, passionate women with the ability to help them achieve and exceed cybersecurity goals.”

    Tosin is a mother to two children, a six-year-old boy and a three-year-old girl. “I now know with confidence that if either of them wants to pursue a career in STEM, they will both have opportunities available to them. I would not hesitate to encourage either of them if that is their interest.” As an immigrant from Nigeria, Tosin hopes to see Women & Hi Tech expand its reach beyond borders. “Women & Hi Tech is going above and beyond in Indiana, but young girls all over the world need support to pursue STEM as a career. I want to see more high school and middle school students, especially girls, engaged in awareness of STEM. If students can have more training earlier, they can grow their skills and start careers out of high school, then learn as they go.”

    “I look forward to how I see the future being reshaped by organizations like Women & Hi Tech,” she concluded. “Diversity is already better than what it used to be, and I now regularly see qualified women being recognized and celebrated for their qualifications. As challenges continue to be dismantled, things will only get better for every professional in STEM fields, and for future generations too.”

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